We were also honored to have many distinguished guests, among them were
members of the Interreligious Council, Representatives of other Buddhist
groups, from Mahayana and Theravada, professors from Mexican universities,
and members of the local community. It was a joyous event for the Mexican
Buddhists to participate in the opening of the very first Theravada monastery
on the soil of Mexico. This opens the door to disseminate dhamma further
down south to other Latin
Some of the invited guests started arriving the day before due to the remoteness of the location. People from different parts of the Republic of Mexico, as far as Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific coast, and the City of Monterrey in the north near the border with Texas, made their effort to travel to the State of Veracruz in the Southeast.
The ceremony started around noon and at the beginning Venerable U Silananda
gave the Five Precepts followed by the Three Refuges. Soon after that the
of the Sangha chanted and blessings were given. The shrine-room, where the ceremony was being held, was completely filled with the attendants and many of them had to stay outside and follow the proceedings through the loudspeakers. It was an auspicious day for the Mexican Buddhists. The weather was very cooperative and it was nice and fair. The building that was giving shelter to all the invited monks and participants was built in a record time by a team of workers led by Manuel Murrieta. Each team member was honored by Venerable U Silananda and members of Centro Mexicano de Buddhismo Theravada (CMBT).
Some of the guests offered flowers and incense to the Buddha, others spoke words of praise of the occasion, while cameras and videos were busy trying to catch those fleeting, historical moments. Speeches were made by some of the invited guests in appreciation of the opening of Dhamma Vihara.
At about 2:00 p.m. Venerable U Silananda and CMBT President Dr. Hilda
Díaz uncovered a commemorative plaque which reads (English translation-see
founded under the spiritual guidance
of Venerable U Silananda
on January 30, 1999.
Wreaths of flowers were placed where the plaque was uncovered and the emotion that was contained until this moment broke in a deep applause. Later, in the presence of the monks and invited guests, a “Bodhi Tree” was planted by CMBT Treasurer Rosa María Martínez.
The culminating event took place on the top of the hill now named Buddha Giri when the Sasana and Mexican flags were hoisted. First the Sasana flag was slowly raised by Miguel Pelusi while the monks chanted Pali verses from the Buddha's Discourses. Immediately after, Dr. Alejandro Cordova -- one of the founders of CMBT-- raised the three-colored Mexican flag while all the participants sang the Mexican National anthem. When both flags where flying high in the Mexican sky, the monks proceeded to establish a Boundary (Sima), an area where monks can perform acts of Sangha such as ordinations.
It had been decided earlier at the request of some members of CMBT that the entire hill Buddha Giri, including the area where the building is located, was to be a boundary and that those interested would participate in the delimitation of the place. Such was the enthusiasm and interest to participate in this act that twenty four men and women sign up for the delimitation ceremony. Since we had to delimit only eight cardinal points (north, south, east, west, northeast, northwest, southeast and southwest) we did each of them three times to include everybody.
It is true that we have accomplished something very important and this has been possible thanks to the support, help and effort of many including you. Now we have a Theravada Buddhist Vihara in Mexico, a place to practice and study the Buddha's Teachings. There is much to rejoice. So let us rejoice at our good deeds saying:
Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!